Celibacy Awareness Month

National Celibacy Awareness Month

It was suggested to me recently that I make a post about “Celibacy Awareness Month“.

It’s still a long time until we get back to the celibacy month, but I decided to go ahead and cover the topic some 9 months out.

While I’m not an advocate of celibacy myself, I understand that many people advocate celibacy, for a variety moral, religious, health, social and psychological reasons. I believe in describing an idea on its own terms, so I’ll try to describe the subject of celibacy awareness and the month devoted to that awareness without giving you too many of my own viewpoints.

What Is Celibacy?

To many people, celibacy is abstaining from sex, though there are subtle differences between being celibate and practicing “sexual abstinence”. Those who are celibate have no sexual relations of any kind, or at least that’s the strict definition of celibacy.

Sexual abstinence means no sexual intercourse, while celibacy means avoidance of any sexual activity altogether. This includes the avoidance of marriage.

Traditional celibacy is often associated with the Roman Catholic priesthood, which was codified in the 12th century. In the 1st Lateran Council in 1123 and the 2nd Lateran Council in 1139, celibacy became an obligation for Catholic priests. (Not always practiced, of course.) From what I understand, the Church wanted to protect its property, because there was a practice with some priests trying to give church property away to their children. Thus, celibacy became Catholic canon law. (There might be other reasons, but I’ll leave that to those who know more about Catholic history.)

The obligatory vow of celibacy was reaffirmed by the Council of Trent, an ecumenical council of Catholic fathers who met in 26 sessions between 1545 and 1563, and has been seen by future generations as the embodiment of the Counter-Reformation.

Most people these days, therefore, use the word celibacy to mean sexual abstinence, because most religious groups and parent organizations do not discourage children and youngsters from marriage, at least at an appropriate stage of life. So you might call it Sexual Abstinence Month. So when is this month, anyway?

When Is Celibacy Awareness Month?

National Celibacy Awareness Month is June every year. It’s in this month that churches, religious associations, and parents groups encourage children (and adults) to pursue the celibate life – and by that, I mean sexual abstinence.

June is the beginning of the Summer season, when teenagers have more disposable time and leisure time than the rest of the year, and presumably have more time for sexual mischief. Summer is also a time when people are likely to be less clothed, and therefore more prone to temptations of all kind. I’m guessing this is why June is the National Celibacy Awareness Month.

Reasons to Remain Celibate

  • No concerns about pregnancy.
  • No concerns about sexually transmitted diseases or STDs.
  • Desire to avoid caving to societal pressures.
  • It’s the traditional way of living (at least it was for a larger percentage of people).
  • Your religion calls for no premarital sex.
  • You know you aren’t staying in the relationship for purely physical reasons.
  • You know the other person values you for who you are, not the physical pleasures.

Book Discussions of Sex and Celibacy

For those wanting to read more about the concept of celibacy, here are ten books which discuss the subject, from a number of different perspectives.

Several of these writers come to the issue through a Christian point-of-view, but we also see Buddhism represented, Tantrism and Kundalini as these concepts apply to celibacy (a wild connection), undiscussed permissiveness in the pre-Victorian Era 19th century, celibacy in the 1990’s, wives coping with the unwanted celibacy in their marriage, and how a single woman can reconnect with their passion and spirit through a celibate lifestyle. Hopefully, you’ll find one or more of these fascinating reads.

  • Living the Celibate Life: A Search for Models and Meaning by A.W. Richard Sipe
  • The Birth of the Modern, World Society 1815-1830 by Paul Johnson
  • Living the Vows: The Emotional Conflicts of Celibate Religious by Robert J. McAllister
  • Cool and Celibate?: Sex and No Sex by David Bull
  • Celibate Wives: Breaking the Silence by Joan Avna and Diana Waltz
  • And Lead Us Not Into Temptation: Living Single and Celibate For Christ by Maria Alvarez
  • And You Are Christ’s: The Charism of Virginity and the Celibate Life by Thomas S.M. Dubay
  • Demythologizing Celibacy: Practical Wisdom from Christian and Buddhist Monasticism by Richard Skudlarek
  • Eros, Consciousness, and Kundalini: Deepening Sensuality through Tantric Celibacy and Spiritual Intimacy by Stuart Sovatsky, Ph.D.
  • Sensual Celibacy: The Sexy Woman’s Guide to Using Abstinence for Recharging Your Spirit, Discovering Your Passions, Achieving Greater Intimacy in Your Next Relationship by Donna Marie Williams

Celibacy Awareness

So next June when Celibacy Awareness Month rolls around, you’ll be informed about this fascinating human concept. While I imagine that most people who aren’t contemplating abstinence will do more than leaf through even one of the books listed above, I want those brave few interested in pursuing celibacy to be armed with a wealth of information. Enjoy – or don’t enjoy, however it may be.

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